Instagram confirms test of ‘unskippable’ ads

0
13


Instagram confirmed it’s testing unskippable ads after screenshots of the feature began circulating across social media. These new ad breaks will display a countdown timer that stops users from being able to browse through more content on the app until they view the ad, according to informational text displayed in the Instagram app.

The change would see the social network becoming more like the free version of YouTube, which requires users to view ads before and in the middle of watching videos. It makes sense that Instagram would consider going this route, too, given that it has also shifted over the years to become more of a video-sharing network, thanks to features like Stories and Reels, rather than a place to only share still photos.

“We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” a Meta company spokesperson told TechCrunch. “As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes,” they noted.

The new “ad break” feature was spotted initially by Instagram app user Dan Levy, who posted a screenshot of the test to his account on X. The app stopped Levy from scrolling past the ad when it appeared, he said — something he thought was a “bonkers move.”

A follow-up post on Reddit clarified that if you click the info icon next to the ad break to learn more, you’ll see a message that reads: “You’re seeing an ad break. Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you keep browsing.”

Other commenters confirmed that they had also seen the feature at times. As you might imagine, the majority of the reactions were negative. Some people threatened to close Instagram if they came across “ad breaks” like this, while others said they would stop using the app entirely. In addition, commenters questioned whether this decision was driven by a need to increase engagement on ads, at the expense of the consumer experience.

Levy’s post has since been recirculated by other accounts on X, like @howfxr and @Dexerto.

Instagram declined to say where in the Instagram app the ad breaks show and whether the company was testing the feature globally. The screenshots, however, show the ad breaks appearing in the app’s Feed while watching video posts. It’s not clear at this time if Instagram creators will have any control over these ads’ appearance.

For now, the feature is just a test, but it demonstrates to what extent Meta is willing to experiment with the app’s core user experience in favor of increased ad revenues.





Source link